Back in 2017, after having sat down with Spintires: MudRunner for several hours, I came away amazed.
The reason was just how realistic and enjoyable the whole experience was with physics behaving exactly as you’d expect them to, vehicles feeling like they were truly battling with the environments, and challenging objectives pushing players through with a real sense of accomplishment. A year on from that though and Spintires is back with an all new expansion, Spintires: MudRunner – American Wilds, but has the magic been retained after a year away? I jumped back in to see if this trip to the West could bring more of that fine quality enjoyed so much a year ago.
So, the American Wilds DLC is made up of two new maps – Grizzly Creek and Mount Logmore – both of which contain a wide range of new vehicles to get stuck into, as well as two separate Challenge missions to master.
Starting with the new maps though and following on from the base game, both are rather elegant in design with an air of natural beauty bestowing each map thanks to the abundance of forests, country roads, and murky waterways. There is also a whole load of sludgy mud to really allow you to dive into the off-road nature of the game. The new maps are said to be set within America and inspired by the rough lands of Montana and North Dakota, however there is nothing definitive within the new DLC besides the branded vehicles to showcase the fact that it’s actually America we are in. In fact, the locations feel very similar to that of previous locations that were set within the Siberian wilderness.
When you get stuck in the seat of a Hummer H1 with your wheels churning through the mud, or are sat turning the wheel of the Freghtliner FLD120 fully loaded and clambering your way out of a tangle, things do start to feel like you may just be trekking through the vast wilderness of the western states. But if it weren’t for these rather stunningly recreated new additions, that also include the likes of Chevrolet and Western Star, then it wouldn’t be so easy to recognise that you were in a different location at all.
That said, neither of the new settings are bad additions to the overall Spintires experience and if you’re after more of the quality gameplay seen in the base game, but in a fresh new layout, then the American Wilds DLC can certainly provide.
As for the challenges and we see Crane Operator II and Freight-EX as the new arrivals. You will however need to complete the former in order to unlock Freight-EX and that is no easy task if you’re a newcomer to the game. It’s well worth completing the other challenges first as taking the new and weighty K-9000 Forwarder through the flooded forests was something even I was struggling with despite having played many, many hours of Spintires: MudRunner.
Once more both challenges are suitable additions, but it seems the developers have decided to stick with what they know and bring something similar to the game rather than anything extravagantly new. Of course, that isn’t an issue and anyone who’s read through our review of the original will know just how much we enjoyed what was on offer in the base game, but it would have been nice to see things changed up a little more.
Whilst it’s always fantastic to see more content in games, there should always be time to appreciate improvements too and it seems joining the American Wilds DLC are enhancements towards the third-person camera. Even while driving some of the larger vehicles it seems players can at least now see everything that’s going on around the vehicle – something that proved a bit of an issue when the game originally launched – and that is necessary should you hope to navigate without running into immediate issues… especially on the Hardcore setting. Even when driving the new Chevrolet Bison or the Freightliner FLD120, there were never any issues seeing just what was around at any given point and this should be appreciated by anyone who’s experienced the game before.
Unfortunately, with just two new maps, two new challenges and a selection of vehicles – albeit a great selection that has been fantastically recreated and true to their real-life counterparts, it’s hard to call Spintires: MudRunner – American Wilds a true expansion. Of course if you’re entirely new to the game, then purchasing the complete version will give you access to every piece of content released so far including both of the free DLC maps, The Valley and The Ridge along with all that is included within the American Wilds DLC; that as a bundle is a cracking set. But looking at the American Wilds as a separate package, which is what it is sold for, it is instead just a piece of new DLC. For just £7.99, we shouldn’t complain though, as the content included is full of quality nonetheless.
What’s more is that to achieve everything perfectly, including finding all the new waypoints that are scattered across the maps, and taking down all bonus objectives, the slow paced nature of the game will ensure the American Wilds DLC maps alone will take you a good few hours to complete. It’ll also remind you just how harsh and unforgiving the terrain actually is, and it’ll take a lot of practice to get things right.
Should you be a fan of the base game experience, then there is no reason not to jump in with Spintires: MudRunner – American Wilds. With some fantastic vehicles, great new challenges and plenty of beautiful scenery to get lost in, it will ensure you of more hours of off-roading madness yet.